You can dream about the future forever. You can have trips down memory lane every single day. But you only live here and now….and lucky you: it’s not on an inhabited island. How often do you take notice of the world around you? Who is seated next to you in the train or airplane? Did you notice which neighbors are on holidays and which aren’t? Can you enjoy the birds and the bees? Does twitter associate with singing birds first, or with a social network? Learning to be more mindful and aware can do wonders for our well-being in all areas of life – like our walk to work, the way we eat or our relationships. It helps us get in tune with our feelings and stops us dwelling on the past or worrying about the future – so we get more out of the day-to-day.
The key to taking notice is mindfulness. Mindfulness is often defined as “the state of being attentive to and aware of what is taking place in the present”. Two critical elements of mindfulness are that:
- It is intentional (i.e. we are consciously doing it); and
- We are accepting, rather than judging, of what we notice.
In the Western world many embraced training, self-help books on mindfulness without noticing the Buddhist roots of the meditative practice. How odd and yet understandable. Accept, rather than judge can open doors to all kinds of relevant thoughts as well as pure nonsense. Life’s not about sitting still and do nothing. Mankind is wired for action. If you’re in danger, maneuvering in traffic, do your job or raise children you’re meant to judge, frame and act accordingly.
On the other hand, constantly running around trapped in the multi-tasking fallacy lead to unhappy people.
Stop and use your senses: what do you see, hear, feel, taste, etc. ? Just observe and enjoy. Refrain from judgement. That’s key to more happiness in this busy world. Note, that a mindfulness or courses may turn out to be another hype, feel like an obligation, though the principle is so easy: be aware of the world around you. Appreciate the wonders of life, the grace you got, the air you breathe, your family and friends.
More keys to happier living
In the coming weeks I’ll share more keys for happier living, as part of the Action for Happiness.